by Staff Writers
Promontory UT (SPX) Sep 12, 2011
ATK has conducted a third successful ground test of the next-generation solid rocket motor. The successful test, known as Development Motor (DM-3), is an important milestone in further validating the rocket's potential use in heavy lift and commercial launch vehicles.
Initial test data indicate the motor performed as designed, producing approximately 3.6 million pounds of thrust, or 22 million horsepower, and burning for just over two minutes.
"This test is the third in a critical series of static tests to evolve and confirm the motor configuration while providing applicable technology maturation for next-generation systems," said Charlie Precourt, vice president and general manager, ATK Aerospace Systems, Space Launch Systems. "This milestone is another step towards completing our Critical Design Technical Interchange activity this fall."
The main test objectives from the static motor firing were measuring the five-segment rocket's performance and verifying the performance of new materials in the motor joints at hot temperatures. Intentional flaws were introduced in the joint to allow hot gas to penetrate into part of the robust joint to verify joint performance.
DM-3 is the largest human-rated solid rocket motor built today, measuring 12 feet in diameter and 154 feet in length. The five-segment motor is based on the Space Shuttle's four-segment boosters, but it has been upgraded to incorporate modern technologies and materials that were not used on the shuttle booster. As a result it produces 30 percent more power than the four-segment motor while utilizing new materials that provide cost and weight savings.
Along with the motor development, ATK has been consolidating its facilities, workforce, and processes to further reduce the cost of producing the solid rocket motors. The five-segment motor was designed to maximize astronaut safety while providing the United States with an affordable and reliable launch capability for both crew and cargo missions.
"The data from these tests, along with information we have collected over the past three decades, confirms this is the most powerful solid rocket motor ever designed," said Precourt. "This performance makes the five-segment a great solution for heavy lift launch vehicles."
ATK to Relocate Corporate Headquarters to Northern Virginia
In total, ATK employs approximately 2700 people in Minnesota. ATK currently employs approximately 3500 people in the Mid-Atlantic region, where it operates facilities in Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia.
Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell welcomed ATK to northern Virginia, and said, "We are pleased that ATK is joining the vibrant aerospace and defense community that contributes so much to the commercial base of our state, and look forward to the company's continued growth and progress here."
"The relocation of ATK's headquarters to the Washington D.C. area will provide our company with opportunities for increased engagement with our customers and Congress, as well as with our aerospace and defense industry peers that already are located in the region. Expanding our presence and visibility in the Washington area will support our strategy of creating a more global, diversified company," said Mark W. DeYoung, President and CEO.
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com
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Russia blames 'chance' defect for space crash
Moscow (AFP) Sept 9, 2011
Russia on Friday blamed a one-off production fault in a rocket engine for the crash of an unmanned spaceship last month but nevertheless ordered checks of all similar rocket motors. The Russian space agency Roskosmos said in a statement that the motor of the third-stage rocket blasting the craft into orbit failed because a blocked duct cut fuel supply to its gas generator. The Progress s ... read more
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